Among all authoritarian Arab regimes in the Middle Eastern and North African region, Egypt can be considered as a crucial example which has attempted to take a number of steps toward political liberalization since the 1970s. As an external actor through its aid programs, bilateral agreements, direct grant programs, and partnership initiatives, the United States seemed to be working towards economic and political liberalization and democratization in Egypt. However, in spite of this seemingly fervent endeavor, particularly during the rule of President Mubarak, the US governments have failed in their attempts to liberalize Egypt. This article attempts to explain why the USA was not able to succeed in its initiatives to liberalize Egypt, despite its serious economic assistances and political efforts by referring to two research traditions within comparative politics: structuralist analysis and rational choice theory. It argues that the USA, due to the problems concerning the structure of USAID, MEPI and BMENA, and the rational choices made by the same organizations had a limited impact on political liberalization process in Egypt.
Egyptian politics, political liberalization, external actors, the United States of America (USA), structural analysis, rational choice